Vikings top Va. team in revamped tourney
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, April 20, 2019
D.H. Conley softball kicked off its annual Easter tournament at the Sara Law Softball Complex on Saturday by beating a team from out-of-state, defeating Amelia County (Va.), 7-1.
Heavy rain and storms on Friday forced the opening round of games to be delayed a day, also leading to volunteers working Saturday morning to dry the Sara Law fields in preparation for a full slate of action.
“I’ve been out here since about 6 a.m., and parents have been out here working hard to get these fields halfway playable,” Conley coach and event organizer Wayne Deans said. “I think we’re reaching that point of insanity early Saturday morning, which is kind of scary.”
The main softball tournament in the area coincides with baseball Easter showcases such as the longtime Ray Avery event and the Pitt County Classic.
This year’s softball event features 17 varsity and six junior-varsity teams from around the state, with Amelia County as the only squad from outside of North Carolina. Other area teams participating include Ayden-Grifton, Farmville Central, Greene Central, South Central and J.H. Rose.
“This event started under Joey Baggett years and years ago,” Deans said. “I’m just trying to keep it going and make sure that teams come and it’s a good experience for them and they’ll want to come back.”
The Vikings, who locked up the 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular season championship Thursday night when they beat South Central, had another strong showing against the visiting Raiders.
Carson Fleming (2-for-3, 2 Rs, RBI) and Maggie Craig (3-for-3) led the way. Alexis Phillips (2-for-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB), Lexi Phillips (1-for-4, R, SB), Olivia Knight (2-for-4, R, 2 RBIs) and Darci Anderson (2 Rs, 2 SBs) also helped the Vikes’ offense.
Jasia Miles (2-for-3, 2B) scored Amelia’s lone run.
“They are a really good team,” Deans said of the Raiders. “They have come to the tournament for a number of years now and we enjoy having them, they are a great group. We knew that this year they were a really tough team and they are top-20 in their state rankings. This was a great opportunity to play against a great team. We were excited to play them.”
The event will continue Monday with five more games on the schedule. DHC will face Greene Central at 1 p.m.
Contact Jake Keator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.
Ayden-Grifton 11, New Bern 0 (5 innings)
Ayden-Grifton made an early statement in their tournament opener Saturday, defeating New Bern 11-0 in five innings.
Ayden-Grifton scored seven runs in the bottom of the the fourth inning, led by a Kim Gurkins two run single and an Aubrie Jones two run double. Olejar ended the game in the bottom of the fifth with a two run single of her own.
“I wanted to help my team,” Olejar said. “Seeing teams we haven’t seen before can help us for important games going forward. It’s a way of getting us prepared for the playoffs.”
Casey Matthis’ Chargers are now on a three-game winning streak following a four-game losing streak.
“It’s a confidence builder,” Matthis said. “It’s all about playing good defense and hitting the ball well in an event like this.”
A-G (12-7, 6-4) will return to action April 30 when they travel to face West Craven. -Laieke Abebe
Ayden-Grifton 9, North Lenoir 2
The Chargers picked up another crucial win in the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference Thursday night.
Kim Gurkins led the way with two hits and three RBIs. She also picked up the complete game from the circle, earning three strikeouts.
North Lenoir 5, Ayden-Grifton 4
A two-run seventh inning led to a walkoff win for North Lenoir over Ayden-Grifton Thursday night.
Austin Jones (2-for-4, 2 Rs, RBI) and Josh Harris (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBIs, SB) led the Chargers at the plate.
D.H. Conley 6, South Central 0
D.H. Conley wrapped up a 3-A/4-A Eastern Carolina Conference title Thursday night after defeating South Central.
DHC (19-1, 12-0) recieved goals from Jenna Rupp (3), Ashley Tucker, Gabrielle Kirkman and Haven Best. Allison Dixon (3) and Emily Hollinger were credited with assists. Maeve English earned another shutout in goal.
The Vikings enter as the No. 1 overall seed in the conference tournament, and will face the winner of four-seed South Central and fifth-seeded C.B. Aycock on May 1 at Hollywood Crossroads.
Hope 4, A.G. Cox 0
Hope improved its record to 13-2, 8-2 Thursday night after defeating A.G. Cox.
The Mustangs picked up goals from Henry Conway (2), Chris Bazelow and Steven Cocolas.